In case this could help someone to help me, I noticed that the "problem" happens when photoshop merges all the layers before exporting the image. In fact if I merge the layers within photoshop I get the same "flattened" look as in the exported images.
A simple but partial solution, that only mitigates the problem, is to double the deep of all bevel and emboss effects.
This is the result, still not ideal but better than before.
After finishing the last city map, I am back fiddling with the region, trying to arrive at a result I can live with.
Any thoughts? Does it look at least marginally better as a base?
I think it looks like a great base for a regional map. Makes me want to mess around with FT.
After finally splurging for a new laptop, with much much more ram (which actually is more relevant for future humungous city maps...), I have returned to some old projects, chiefly this one, on which I feel I have made some relevant progress.
I am now mostly satisfied with the general look, though a really satisfying forest still eludes me (would seem simple... it would...), and I am on my way in filling up the names, though still a lot of fiddling is going on.
What do you think? I am particularly uncertain about how the style for names work with the overall feeling of the map.
Are your rivers beveled? It seems as if they are growing across the surface of your map a bit... Other than that and the forest, great looking map. The edges of the text seem a little wobbly I don't know if it is the text itself or if the layer is set as an overlay. Looks a little strange to me. Not bad... just different. I guess that could be a matter of taste. :)
I actually like the forest from 2 posts ago a bit more! lol.
Yes the rivers are beveled, what do you mean by they seem to be growing across the surface (and how is that related to the bevel?).
The font is a little wobbly, especially visible at larger size, but also most of the text layers are in fact set to soft light (the reasoning was to let the actual geography to show more than the names, since the style is pseudo-realistic; though I am not entirely sure that it looks good).
I'd also prefer to find a font which did not look "chipped" at larger sizes, but haven't found one which satisfied me overall for this map.
I'll think about re-doing the forest more similarly to what it was before.
Great map, I particularly like what you've done with the forest and the terrain color, it looks really good.
What I mean by "across the surface" is that they appear to be raised on top of the land rather than sunk in, especially through the forests. I can't shake the feeling of giant blue vines spreading out (which may be a nice idea for a future map...).
Beveling uses shadows to emulate a 3D effect and I recognized that this may be the cause. Perhaps a slight inner shadow would be better suited to give your rivers definition or maybe just playing with the bevel settings a bit. Just a thought... Who knows maybe my eyes don't pick things up correctly! ;)